A veteran journalist on regional affairs
Kavi Chongkittavorn is a veteran journalist on regional affairs
Last week, the new Asean chair, Indonesia, convened the first two important meetings -- the Asean Coordinating Council and Asean Foreign Ministers' Retreat -- to discuss and follow up on ongoing and emerging issues that have to do with the relevancy of Asean and its centrality.
Last week Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-cha issued a new soft power policy to promote Thai culture as part of efforts to attract international visitors. Upon close scrutiny, what the government is trying to do is actually raise revenue. In a nutshell, it is a sales pitch, nothing more.
'So close and yet so far" is a popular description of the current state of ties between Thailand and Malaysia. It could have been better in the past, but now both countries can make a difference. Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim is visiting Thailand next month to advance bilateral ties to another level, but several elements are needed.
At last week's virtual summit organised by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to gather input from members of the Global South, Thailand diligently reached out to the world's developing and less developing countries with a holistic approach focusing on human security and balanced development.
It's not an overstatement to say that the recent visit by Philippines President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr to China was one of the most important visits between the two countries in decades. The outcome of the three-day trip will have far-reaching implications for bilateral, regional, and global strategic landscapes in the post-pandemic era.
It might sound pompous to keep stating the strategic importance of Southeast Asia over the past year due mainly to the three heavy-weight summits held in the neighbourhood. Historically speaking, it has always been this way since the colonial period when European powers gobbled up land, suppressed local people, and gained and influenced footholds throughout the region's mainland and archipelagos.
The recently passed bill by Congress, known broadly as the 2022 Burma Act, which allows the US government to provide technical support and non-military assistance to engage with the opposition groups against the military junta in Nay Pyi Taw combined with the incoming Asean chair, Indonesia, could be a game-changer with the Myanmar crisis soon to enter its third year.
The success of the G20 in Bali has turned President Widodo Joko into a global leader for overcoming divisions regarding the war in Ukraine. The G20 leaders' declaration was issued, surprising everyone. Behind the scenes, however, kudos went to India which helped draft the communique. Now, India, as the current G20 chair, will be out right in the front row with all eyes watching. What will India's agenda be? What is India up to?